Ridership numbers for the first month of BC Bus North - Northern B.C.’s newest transit system - did not disappoint, according to the provincial government.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that about 300 people took the new long-haul transportation service during the first month of service, and that ridership numbers continue to grow each week since the service was implemented on June 4, 2018.
“We are hoping as the word gets out about this new service, more and more people will consider taking BC Bus North,” the ministry told Lakes District News in a statement.
The ministry added that BC Bus North is B.C.’s interim solution while the province works to develop a long-term solution for transportation in the north, and the rest of B.C.
After ceasing its passenger operations in Northern B.C. earlier this year, Greyhound Canada announced it also plans to end bus service in most routes across Western Canada this fall.
In light of Greyhound’s recent decision, the ministry says BC Bus North has taken on new meaning.
“As we work with our federal partners going forward to solve this Canada-wide issue, we are sure that BC Bus North will be looked at with interest,” said the ministry. “The government, along with our partner in this endeavour, BC Transit, will be closely monitoring the service to collect information that will help inform next steps.”
The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board announced earlier this summer that it will move applications “to the front of the line” to encourage inter-city bus companies to pick up routes that Greyhound Canada leaves behind at the end of October.
BC Bus North, backed by $2 million in provincial funding, provides two round-trip routes a week between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemont, Prince George to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John; and a round-trip route once a week to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John from Fort Nelson.
People can buy BC Bus North tickets online with a credit card at www.bcbus.ca or by contacting the call centre at 1 -844-564-7494. One-way fares range from $35 to $45, per route, depending on travel distance.
In addition to payment by credit card, buses are equipped to accept payment by debit card, in person, when passengers board the bus. Customers need to reserve their seats ahead of time by calling the BC Bus North call centre, and customers then connect with the driver to complete the debit transaction when boarding the bus.
- With files from Tom Fletcher